Ceramics: More Than Just Clay


Audrey Cooper

Mrs. B teaching students to make plates and bowls on the wheel.

Audrey Cooper, Reporter

During school hours and after school on Mondays, Highland High School’s room 5159 turns into a sanctuary for art and friendship. The experienced ceramics teacher, Mrs. Barmettler, also known as Mrs. B, creates an environment where her students can learn and grow.

 At the beginning of the year, students work with hand-building techniques to get a hang of using clay and creating objects out of it. After being taught a few basic techniques, Mrs. B expands their knowledge of art by including projects based on Pablo Picasso, Dia de los Muertos, and other artists and cultures. 

The students have grown to love the class because, even during a themed project, they still have the ability to make their item creative to themselves and unique. One first-hour student, Eli Faas (10) expressed that his “favorite part about the class is the way we have the freedom to make whatever we want”. 

Similarly, Mattias Ortiz (12) stated that he loves “that once the projects are fired in the kilns, we get to paint and glaze them into whatever we want to”. 

After semester one, students get to learn on the wheel how to create bowls, pots, and plates. During this process, Mrs. B works to make sure that her students are not only having fun and understanding the creation process, but also comprehending the meanings behind each time period and the techniques.

When learning plates, students are required to paint on their plate art inspired by an art masterpiece from a revolution/time period of their choice. Mrs. B provides the students with physical examples of the project from past years so that students can easily gain inspiration and understanding. Ethan Yergensen (10) exclaimed that “it’s cool to have a teacher that is so passionate about helping her students”. 

Another student, Moses Mugabo (9) stated that he enjoys ceramics because he “gets to learn new things”.

Between projects, the students get to read Scholastic magazines on present-day artists and their work. Yergensen also explained that “in this class, we focus on the inclusivity of art styles and how each person’s interpretation of art is different and valuable”.

After each project, it is common that the students gather around each other’s work and provide their classmates’ projects with compliments and admiration.

Mrs. B and her students have worked together to create a comfortable place where anyone can open up, learn, grow, and make good friends. Sign up for ceramics next school year, you won’t regret it!